There are not a whole lot of people in the United States Senate whom we would describe as loyal to their political base, yet open to compromise.
One such person, though, is Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. He survived a challenge to his renomination Friday in the Utah caucuses. He still will have to endure a primary to secure the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate from Utah.
That is more than a shame - it is a travesty. There are more than a few folks who think Orrin Hatch should have been a Supreme Court justice - perhaps even chief justice.
Hatch's difficulty in securing the renomination in Utah shows the flawed underbelly of the Tea Party. Their candidate did not even come close to unseating Hatch in the caucuses, but they have undermined Hatch enough to have to face an opponent in a primary. Yes, he fell short of avoiding that insult by about 2 percentage points.
No matter that Hatch will win the primary handily, the campaign is sure to give ammunition to his general election opponent.
Without meaning to blaspheme him in the Tea Party's eyes, we would mention that one of Orrin Hatch's closest friends in the Senate was the late Edward Kennedy. Though they seldom agreed on anything philosophically, they forged some compromises like "No Child Left Behind" that were far-reaching and well-intentioned.
More important, though, was that Hatch and Kennedy proved that differences of political philosophies didn't prohibit personal friendships And - paramount - that personal friendships could mold compromises on important political decisions.
Lost in the hyper-partisanship of today's Washington is one simple truth - the art of governing is the art of compromise. Without compromise, there is gridlock, then anarchy.
The huge challenges facing the country - like continuing trillion-dollar deficits - demand politicians in Washington who will work together to forge compromise solutions. Attacks on politicians like Hatch are counterproductive to that goal.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.